Two wickets in two balls by Mohammad Abbas just before the close of play put the West Indies immediately on the back foot in reply to Pakistan’s first innings total of 217 on the rain-affected opening day of the first Test at Sabina Park on Thursday.
Abbas put the seal on a bowlers’ day by having Kieran Powell well taken low at second slip and then trapping Nkrumah Bonner leg before next ball in a testing final 20 minutes of play.
It was Bonner’s first Test innings since his brief appearance on the opening day of the South Africa series when he was forced to retire hurt after being struck flush on the helmet first ball by fast bowler Anrich Nortje.
Like Abbas, the West Indies fast bowlers justified their skipper’s decision to bowl first with former leader Jason Holder and young pacer Jayden Seales taking three wickets each.
Kemar Roach lifted his tally of Test wickets to 225 in his 66th match by removing Imran Butt after half-an-hour’s play and then added the important wicket of Pakistan captain Babar Azam.
Babar and former skipper Azhar Ali put on 47 for the third wicket with Azhar capturing much of the attention in the afternoon session for a bizarre succession of reprieves via referrals to the television technology with four consecutive decisions going the way of the batsman.
However it was the combined effort of left-handers Fawad Alam (56) and Faheem Ashraf (44) which gave the innings some substance.
The pair put on 85 for the sixth wicket only to be separated by a run out when Ashraf was found short of his ground by square-leg fielder Chase when seeking to complete a sharp single. On a day when 12 wickets fell, it was the four occasions in quick succession when Azhar survived to fight on early in the post-lunch period which proved most memorable.